Putonghua in Guangzhou

arthurfrain
March 02, 2011, 04:13 AM posted in General Discussion

Dear Poddies and CP Team,

Any thoughts on learning Mandarin in Guangzhou? I've been offered a job there, but I hear it's not an optimal learning environment because of the accents and the prevalence of Cantonese. If you have any advice or experience to share, I'd be much obliged.

John and Jenny, I was really hoping to hear from the experts on this one, cause I just can't figure out what to do. 

Cheers,

Arthur

 

 

 

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xiao_liang
March 02, 2011, 12:25 PM

You know, one of the best people to help you on this would be jen_not_jenny, of Qing Wen fame. She lived in Guangzhou for a while. But unfortunately she's on maternity leave at the moment. Could try a PM to her?

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bababardwan

hey xiao_liang...are you sure you're not getting your Jenny's jumbled up? Jenny Zhu is on maternity leave. Is Jen_not_jenny [note the "not_jenny" part, hehe] also on maternity leave? [and does she realise this?]; are CPod really juggling jige Jenny chanjia's ?

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xiao_liang

They're BOTH on maternity leave! Only Jenny Zhu has had her baby (I think? I don't actually know), but as far as I know Jen_not_jenny is still waiting. Although having said that I haven't seen her on gmail chat for a few days, so maybe she's popped!

You know, stuff like this is why I really miss News and Features :-(

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jen_not_jenny

Hey Baba,

No, xiao_liang hasn't got us mixed up. Must've been something in the air at the CPod offices. ;)

Arthur, in answer to your inquiry, my opinion is that GZ is not a bad place at all to study Mandarin. If you've been offered a job there that you're genuinely interested in, I'd go for it.

A lot of people would argue that the "true" or "proper" Mandarin pronunciation is only available in NE China, but I don't buy into that personally. Yes, 东北人 do have a lovely, clear accent that is the "official" standard for Mandarin but the truth of the matter is that young, educated (and not-so-young and not-so-educated) people all over China speak Mandarin quite successfully.

The interesting thing about Guangzhou is that a huge amount of the city's population have migrated there from all over the country for study or work, so finding people to teach you Mandarin or practice with is not difficult at all. Cantonese is of course widely spoken, but very, very, very few people are unable to speak and understand Mandarin. I ran into a wider variety of people from all over the country in Guangzhou than I do here in Shanghai.

My personal experience with language in GZ--my Mandarin improved a great deal during 2+ years there, and I learned a few Cantonese phrases.

Hope that's helpful!

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bababardwan

噢,你真的有了。恭喜恭喜。我到现在真不知道,没听过。 希望你和宝宝很健康, 很舒服。:)

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bababardwan

hehe, I should have known you wouldn't get that mixed up and would have your finger on the pulse. I don't know how you knew..I must have missed it somewhere. Cheers mate :)

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pretzellogic

They're both on maternity leave? On the one hand, this is cool stuff to know. On the other hand, are we to get updates about who's getting married (who's getting a divorce), who's pregnant, who's dating who.... somehow, I don't think we want to turn cpod into a tabloid.

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RJ

I guess you need to get back on twitter. How else will you ever keep up with Charlie Sheen, and J(NJ).

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bababardwan

I'll be relying on you mate.

听说你真的是一个巨大推特粉丝,整天你只知道推特,所以我将依靠你一定要通知我,好吧

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RJ

Yea, you know how I feel about twitter. I am a 推特通!

actually I have softened a little. It has its uses I guess.

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bababardwan

oh man, I missed my opportunity....dangran 推特通..one of those why didn't I think of that moments...hehe, very good.

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RJ

btw- there was a huge clue here:

http://chinesepod.com/lessons/switching-seats-on-a-plane#comment-204403

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bababardwan

噢,她那里说的她的经历

你还有是一个播客通

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xiao_liang

Hardly a tabloid, but knowing that people are getting married and having babies are happy news to share, and make us feel more part of the chinesepod "family". Whilst also explaining to newer users why familiar voices might not be appearing for a certain period... :-)

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pretzellogic

Yeah, I understand, but part of my statement/question is more on fairness. I mean, we hear from John, David, Connie, and maybe 10 - 20 others on cpod, yet don't get these kinds of updates, who just got married, who just had a kid and so on. I suppose you can argue it both ways though; Jenny has posted multiple times that she has a baby, so she's somewhat let the door open to subscribers asking about her son's status, good and bad. Yet few other teachers have posted much about their private lives, and we subscribers seem to be leaving them alone. Maybe all is as it should be after all.

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xiao_liang

Right. Being a public face of an organisation, particularly one keen on presenting a friendly community face, comes with incumbent responsibility to satisfy the curiosity of your subscriber base. It's nice for us to know that Jenny is having a baby, because we feel like we know her given that we've listened to her voice most days for (in some cases) years and years. It doesn't mean we should know everything about everyone, or even everything about one person, but it's nice to get titbits to keep that family feeling going.

For example, do most people know that Sarah has left Chinesepod? I for one felt sad when I found out, and normally that would have been shared through news and features, since she was part of the public part of Chinesepod. Instead she's just disappeared, which is I think a real shame, particularly as the community would have liked the opportunity to really say goodbye to her (unless I missed the thread, in which case I take it back!)

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zhenlijiang

Hi XiaoLiang, I didn't know about Sarah. I agree it's a shame, and somewhat strange, and no I don't think there was any announcement anywhere. It makes me think Sarah herself wanted it that way, but of course I don't know anything.

I think Jenny was just being wise though, to let the news of her baby be known very cautiously. I can't really agree with "comes with incumbent responsibility to satisfy our curiosity". Family-like or not, once you post anything here it is very public after all. That is her private life, and I for one feel no entitlement to know about that. And of course she was always going to tell us eventually. I was very glad when she did, and we were able to congratulate her (* oh this might sound like I had prior knowledge, but that's not what I mean). I guess you would have better liked more of an announcement, so that we could all shower her with our congratulations instead of finding out and wishing her well in bits and pieces (which I can understand).

I don't know if this is Japanese thinking, but most often when people here find out they are expecting they will be very cautious not to let out the news too soon. The mothers-to-be especially are quite likely to only tell, outside of family, their closest friend, and if they think it may somehow affect their capacity to work, the boss they report to. Then once they begin to show, that will serve as the "wider" announcement. This is truer I think the older the woman. Don't know, maybe this is a cultural difference also, if you think it's unusual.

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bababardwan

"I can't really agree with "comes with incumbent responsibility to satisfy our curiosity". Family-like or not"

..I was going to say exactly the same thing zhen. People have a right to privacy. Let them share with us what they want. Same goes with celebrities and royalty as far as I'm concerned.

"I don't know if this is Japanese thinking"

...no, it varies from couple to couple of course, but I think that's very widespread. Folk are like that hear also, and for good reason.

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xiao_liang

Of course, you're both right. Responsibility is the wrong word, and perhaps I have the wrong sentiment in my enjoyment of our little family here. :-)

Hope no-one took offence, in any case. Move along, move along. Nothing to see here. :)

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bababardwan

xiaoliang pengyou,

“perhaps I have the wrong sentiment in my enjoyment of our little family here”

。。。no mate. I know you're coming from a good place and in that respect I agree with you. There's certainly nothing offensive in what you've written IMHO. I too miss N&F. I like the community spirit and the personal touch and all that. I guess I see what others share with you as a gift, a privilege and not a right, but I know you didn't mean it like that, and this is just my opinion anyway. hehe just having my two fen mate. I think our sentiments and enjoyment of the community are much the same. You've certainly enriched it with your spirit here mate. And may I add, you have been most generous in what you have shared. I'll never forget your post about your trip to China..the leadup, then it was almost like we were live with you. Wonderful stuff. Thank you. Cheers :)

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bababardwan

hey pretz,

love the new avatar mate. Forgive my ignorance but who is it? You're musical aren't you? ...it seems fitting. And what's the logic in the name change? Does it follow on from our discussion here about things to celebrate or are you trying to tell us something?

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xiao_liang

Perhaps he's decided to be celibate, and just can't spell very well? :)

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pretzellogic

good one! I hadn't thought of that.

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pretzellogic

Baba, simple set of questions that deserve a simple set of answers. I think the answer is: every once in awhile, I like to play with my identity, the guitar player is a guitar hero of mine whose birthday was a couple of days ago (and if I hadn't been traveling on business, I might have changed my avatar on his actual birthday), and celebrate was odd way to say that his birthday should be celebrated. But i'm now back to near normal :-)

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bababardwan

oh, hey presto it's pretzo back. That was a quick celebration...or did xiaoliang frighten you back hehe? So mate, would you rather I called you Buddy then? ..of course if you wanna incorporate xiaoliang's take we could call you Monk...hey, which has a nice Chinese aspect to it. You could be one of these fake monks we were discussing recently.

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pretzellogic

yes, quick indeed. I liked xiaoliang's observation, and I guess that I was more thinking it would be a temporary thing anyway, as are all my avatars. As for this avatar, you can call me Wes for the time that its up........

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zhenlijiang

XiaoLiang if everyone were like you, there would be no call to exercise caution and hold back the impulse to share happy things about ourselves, we could all relax more and the world would definitely be a nicer place. To echo Baba, you've brightened up the community spirit by sharing very generously with us here and I have positively enjoyed it all, seeing the pictures, hearing the stories, even watching for your flight to land in HK too. Don't change!

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svik

wes montgomery! I have a CD "Silver Collection" with a very similar photo on the cover.

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pretzellogic

(cue the Count from Sesame Street) Two! Two! Two jazz fans on Chinesepod! Ha-ha-hahaha-aaa!!